General Assembly Overrides Governor’s Vetoes, Thwarts Attempts to Mislead Voters

Raleigh, N.C. – The North Carolina General Assembly today voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s politically-motivated vetoes of two bills designed to eliminate voter confusion and stop political gamesmanship. The General Assembly’s actions ensure voters will receive clear and consistent information on their ballots this November.

House Bill 3 requires each of the six proposed Constitutional amendments on which voters will decide this year be titled “Constitutional Amendment,” removing any chance of confusion or bias. The General Assembly passed House Bill 3 in response to concerns that the commission tasked with writing the ballot captions – which is comprised of two Democrats and one Republican – might politicize a simple administrative process.

This week, after Secretary of State Elaine Marshall sent a letter assuring the General Assembly that the commission would act in a nonpartisan fashion, the Democratic members of the commission validated Republican concerns. Among other outlandish politically charged rhetoric, one of the Democratic members publicly compared a proposed Constitutional amendment to eating cat food.

In a joint statement, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and State House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said, “The partisan spectacle earlier this week by the people tasked with drafting unbiased ballot language makes the need for today’s override vote glaringly clear. Labeling each proposed Constitutional amendment as ‘Constitutional Amendment’ is the simplest, fairest way to present the choice to voters.”

Senate Bill 3 conforms the rules for all judicial races to those for every other public office in the state. The measure clarifies that judicial candidates who switched their party registration within 90 days of filing for office may not appear on the ballot as members of either their previous party or the party to which they switched their affiliation.

This clarification became necessary after multiple judicial candidates across the state from both parties changed their party affiliation days or hours before filing to run for office. Under current law, this type of maneuvering is illegal for every office except judicial seats.

Senator Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), Chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, said, “Today’s vote simply aligns the rules for judicial elections to those for every other public office in North Carolina, yet Democrats continue with their ridiculous claims that we are somehow attempting to ‘rig the system.’ Sadly, it’s the Democrats who shamefully resorted to partisan scheming to confuse the citizens of North Carolina. Thankfully, after today’s overrides, these bills will deliver accurate, unbiased information to voters.”

Before today’s session began, General Assembly leaders spoke to reporters about the expectation that Democrats will try to use absurd legal theories to convince an activist judge to prevent voters from deciding on amendments to their own Constitution.

Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Redistricting, said, “These ridiculous conspiracy theories have no basis in fact or law. Democrats are desperate to keep the Constitutional amendments off the ballot because they know the policies are overwhelmingly popular. The party is so out of touch with average North Carolina voters that their strategy is to rush to the courts to accomplish what they haven’t been able to at the ballot box.”